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Lowell House Opens Back Gate to Residents, Swipe Access To Operate During Limited Hours

By Pedro V. Moura and Nina L. Vizcarrondo, Crimson Staff Writerss

Following thirty years of closed gates, residents of Lowell House can now enter through the back entrance, house administrator Elizabeth Terry wrote in an e-mail to the house list last Thursday.

In 1960, when every Lowell entrance was in use, house administration limited access to only the front gate in an effort to reduce theft, according to Lowell House Librarian Luis Campos ’99.

The opening of the back gate facing Mill Street has been high on the Lowell House Agenda for the past three years, but its execution was impeded by various safety concerns.

Last spring, Lowell House administration, Facilities Maintenance Operations (FMO) personnel, and HoCo met hoping to solve the various problems associated with the issue.

The gate has never closed all the way, and a pediment above it fell last summer after the gate repeatedly slammed into it, according to Lowell House Master Diana L. Eck.

She added that it was “never really designed for that much use.”

The House replaced the pediment and put a door stop to prevent the slamming, but Lowell administrators think that ten years from now, with the possibility of increased traffic flow, it could fall again, outgoing Lowell House Committee (HoCo) Co-chair Neil K. Mehta ’06 said.

Swipe access to the gate will be limited to Lowell residents in order to maintain not only its structural stability, but also to maintain the peace and security of the House, Eck said.

“We don’t want Lowell House to be a traffic corridor for students from other river houses,” she said.

Earlier this fall, Eliot House masters elected to restrict inter-House dining in Eliot closely following the opening of an additional gate.

While Eliot House Master Lino Pertile said that while the opening of the gate may have caused crowding in the dining hall, he insisted that “it has been a great success.”

Due to safety concerns, the gate closes at 10 p.m. and reopens at 7 a.m., Eck said.

“We will eventually have to create some sort of safety grate so that all of the first-floor rooms are not compromised for security,” she added.

But some Lowell residents said yesterday that although they are not content with the time restrictions, they are ultimately happy that the gate is now open.

Jeremy R. Steinemann ’08 called the hours “disappointing,” while Erika E. Helbling ’08 said she was willing to put with the restricted hours, “if that’s what it’s going to take” to keep it open.

Both students called the change in policy “so convenient.”

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